Bruno Le Maire brandishes the threat of a “tax” to force manufacturers to pass on the drop in prices

by time news

2023-05-31 14:30:51

On May 17, 75 major agri-food groups, represented by Ilec and Ania, were received at Bercy. LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

As the “early June” ultimatum approaches, some groups are still dragging their feet to reopen negotiations with distributors.

This is good news for the purchasing power of the French: according to the first estimate of INSEE unveiled on Wednesday, inflation slowed markedly in May in France, to 5.1% over one year, after having reached 5.9% in April and more than 6% at the start of the year. This better would be due toyear-on-year slowdown in energy prices (…) of manufactured goods and servicesbut also food, up 14.1% year on year in May after rising 15% in April.

«I had always indicated that as summer entered we would see inflation slow down, we are there and it is slowing down“, welcomed the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire this morning on France Inter. “There are a number of prices that will start falling“, he promised. Foodstuffs are in the sights of Bercy. While the prices of raw materials, such as wheat, continue to fall, the repercussions on the shelves are slow to be felt. “On food, we must accelerate the decline“, Respondent Bruno Le Maire.

Commitments not kept

For the Minister,the distributors kept their commitment”by agreeing to set up the “trimestre inflation“. The supermarkets have also agreed to extend the measure beyond the 1is June. It is therefore the turn of the industrialists to make an effort. On May 17, the 75 largest food groups, represented by Ilec and Ania, were received at Bercy. Before the Minister of the Economy, they had undertaken to reopen trade negotiations with distributors in view of the fall in the price of raw materials.

But many companies would not have played the game, according to Bruno Le Maire. But the ultimatum set by Bercy – “early June” – approach. The Minister has therefore for the first time explained the sanctions to which reluctant industrialists are exposed. “Either the manufacturers keep their commitments, or I would use the tax instrument to return what they owe to the consumers“, he said at the microphone of Léa Salamé and Nicolas Demorand. More specifically, it will be a “taxation of very large agrifood companies“, in the words of the minister. The purpose of punishment: “recover industrial margins and return them to consumers».

Still, the contours of this sword of Damocles remain very vague. Who will be targeted by this levy? Only the big agri-food groups or all the recalcitrant industrialists? THE “industrial margins“, can they reasonably be used as a base for the tax, as Bruno Le Maire seems to want? “We don’t go into those details.», is content to reply the Ministry of the Economy, acknowledging that it is a «last resort weapon“. Not sure that the warning makes the agro-industrialists tremble.

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